How can internet of things (IOT) helps in the Covid-19 crisis?

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KOTA BHARU, Feb 16 – The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an unprecedented crisis in almost every sector across the world. As for January 31, 2021, it has spread to 100 million people across the globe and brought the world to a standstill.

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In this critical time, current technologies are playing a crucial role to keep the society functional during lockdowns and quarantines. From a global perspective, there is an increasing interest on Internet of Things (IoT) technology to monitor and prevent COVID-19.

IoT refers to everyday devices that internet-connected. Data that is collected by sensors installed in devices (eg. mobile phone, robots) then will be sent to the central cloud server for analytics, decision-making and further action.

Several examples of IoT-based technologies that have been employed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 such as, drones for public surveillance and phone tracking and tracing methods, which widely used in some regions of the world, for example South Korea and US.

In addition, IoT may cater the issue of hospital staff shortage and for remote monitoring of in-home patients. Here, it can reduce the workload, increase the efficiency of the medical staff and avoid COVID-19 exposure to healthcare workers.

Advancements in online retail have helped smaller merchants operate virtually. Amazon, for example, operates automation using robotics to minimize human contact in their distribution centers.

When companies such as manufacturing, industrial, and logistics operations still require physical presence, with IoT, it can be more effectively monitored remotely and human engineers or maintenance personnel can be alerted when their intervention is needed. As for 2021, remote monitoring systems will likely become more commonplace.

To date, Malaysia has introduced several IoT-based approaches aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19, for examples:

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1) The use of non-contact infrared thermometers at all public places to detect high body temperature as an overlapping symptom with COVID-19.
2) The use of Drone-powered surveillance equipped with cameras and loudspeakers by PDRM in Selangor during EMCO to perform surveillance and are monitoring.
3) The use of robot, named as MCK19 or Makcik Kiah 19 to assist hospitals and healthcare providers to distribute food, medicine, and other medical supplies required by COVID-19 patients during MCO.

Undoubtedly, by employing IoT during COVID-19 pandemic, the effective tracing of patients and the suspicious cases can be completely assured.

With the initial implementation of IoT technologies for the detection, trace and track, the incorporation of more advanced IoT-based technologies in more sectors are expected to yield better results.

The implementation cover more than just urban areas would offer more accurate estimations of the situation in detecting suspected cases in rural and semi-urban areas.

The integrating of IoT devices in healthcare services and facilities such as, smart patients’ beds, to remotely monitor and stream real-time data to the nursing stations would be more impactful as it can minimize the physical contact.

With IoT data analytics with vast amounts of people health data, current researchers have been focused on the prevention from COVID-19 by using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

AI can be used to predict future outbreak areas or to forecast potential disruptions in medical service operations that might be occurred due to shortage of healthcare personnel.

There is a need for AI to manage all IoT devices and converting data into more useful information. IoT with Artificial Intelligence (AI), together known as AIoT will continue to have a perfect relationship moving to the next level.

Therefore, we must continue to explore this technology so that it can provide long-term solutions that will benefit the nation as a whole.- BERNAMA

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